HOUSTON (KTRK) --A family's outing to the rodeo and dinner turned into terror.
"I wanted to go and eat there," Eddie Hernandez said.
However, the family had no idea the night would end in an armed robbery.
"Screaming, hollering, 'this is a robbery, this is a robbery, get your hands up'," Hernandez said.
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Three men in hoodies stormed in with guns at the Pappas restaurant on Interstate 45 North near Oak Ridge North Wednesday night.
"It almost sounded like a joke until he said 'put your hands up, don't move' and I noticed the gun was real," mother Jessica Hernandez said.
She knew it was no laughing matter when one of the men walked up and pointed the gun directly at her children's face.
"I looked up and I just saw the barrel of the gun and was like 'ok'," said 12-year-old Michael Hernandez.
Michael said his heart stopped. The next thing he knows the suspect stole his 50 bucks.
"(I thought) don't move, just stay still. Then he reached down my pocket and took it out," he said.
"He had that finger on the trigger and I all could think about was I was going to throw him on the floor and throw my body on top of him," said Jessica, talking about how she would protect her kids.
Eddie said everyone froze especially after noticing the ammo.
"(He had) a clip about that long sticking from the handle," he said.
"Apparently, they were timing the amount of time they spent in the restaurant," said Oak Ridge North P.D. Chief Andrew Walters.
In just five minutes, the suspects ran out with almost $3,000 but didn't realize the entire time that an off-duty Harris County Sheriff detention officer was inside and he managed to sneak out. The deputy's friend called 911.
"I think the officers were there in under 30 seconds and I think it shocked (the suspects. They didn't know what to do," Chief Walters said.
It was a night that family will never forget.
The Oak Ridge North police chief said the department believes those three men may be connected to other robberies in the area and the department is working with other agencies.
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